I'm a sucker for the Statue of Liberty.
Something about tired, poor, wretched masses yearning to breathe free really touches me. All four of my grandparents were immigrants from Poland and Latvia. I like the idea of the green lady watching over them — and steerage passengers from all over — as they pulled into New York Harbor nearly 100 years ago.
I climbed up to her torch when I was a kid. And, a few years ago, I got to prowl around her island after hours with a friend who was working for the National Park Service.
But, there's more than one Statue of Liberty. Plastic versions welcome tourists to Manhattan souvenir shops. There used to be a metallic blue, duct-taped version in front a Brooklyn hardware store near my house. I'm still mourning a crown that graced the top of a funky, now defunct, downtown restaurant.
Still, there's hope. Turns out I'm not the only extreme fan of the Statue of Liberty.
This week, thanks to a man named Ward Schrack, an eight-foot-tall statue was erected as part of a Veterans Memorial in Kearney, Nebraska.
Schrack is a longtime member of the Boy Scouts, but 57 years ago, when the organization celebrated its 40th anniversary by putting up aluminum lady liberties around the country, he missed out. A few years ago, Schrack found a liberty statue in Missouri and enlisted local scouts to raise funds to transport the statue, which had a dedication ceremony last night.
And, yes, the torch will light up.